Do Prenatally-Conditioned Flavor Preferences Affect Consumption of Creep Feed by Piglets?
Departamento de Ciencias Animales, Facultad de Agronomía e Ingeniería Forestal, Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, Santiago 7820436, Chile
Departamento de Fomento de la Producción Animal, Facultad de Ciencias Veterinarias y Pecuarias, Universidad de Chile, Santa Rosa 11735, La Pintana, Santiago 8820000, Chile
Floramatic S.A, Av. Marathon 1989, Ñuñoa, Santiago 7750000, Chile
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 3 October 2019 / Revised: 7 November 2019 / Accepted: 8 November 2019 / Published: 10 November 2019
In pig farming, weaning is abrupt, and occurs between the third and fourth week of age. Creep feed is commonly offered to reduce feed neophobia by creating a sensory link between suckling and post-weaning diets. However, low intake of creep feed is observed within and between litters. This experiment estimates the effect of prenatal flavor exposure on the performance of piglets when the same flavors are included into their creep feed. Gestational sows were fed either a flavored (garlic or aniseed; n24) or an unflavored diet (n24) from 90 to 114 days of gestation. Their litters were offered either garlic, aniseed or unflavored creep feed during the suckling period, and its intake was measured as well as the animal’s final body weight (BW) and average daily gain (ADG). No differences are found in any parameter analyzed according to prenatal flavor exposure (p > 0.05), observing a huge feed intake variability between litters. An unclear post-ingestive benefit of flavored creep feed intake, and the reward contrast between maternal milk and creep feed diets, may accelerate flavor learning extinction during the suckling period. Results of the present and previous experiments suggest that current flavor continuity strategies that are proposed for pig production systems need to be reconsidered.